Celtic Illumination, part 115, Banged to rights.
Docker and I were like a newly married couple, apart from the obvious. We set about decorating our room. One of us remembered seeing a huge, brown, leather settee in a communal area, in an accommodation block, on the other side of the car park. The pair of us were working strange shifts so we waited till we both had the same afternoon off. We walked, as bold as you like, over to the block in question, went in, saw the settee, realised how marvellous it would be in our room and took it. If anyone were to stop us we were going to say that we worked for the SWO and were taking it for repair.
There was nothing wrong with the settee, as with all domestic furniture in the air force this settee was able to withstand a direct thermo nuclear attack. We were sneaking across the car park, carrying this six foot long brown leather settee. We were in Ninja mode so we knew no one would be able to see us; however we hadn’t counted on the SWO who had twenty, twenty, anti-Ninja vision. So the pair of us were stood standing there, holding this settee, and the SWO began to pace up and down.
“What’s going on here then?” He asked.
I knew that I was in this fellow’s good books so I chanced my arm.
“Well sir,” I began. “We were walking across this here car park when we noticed this settee fall out the back of a passing aircraft. So, not wishing to see any item belonging to the air force destroyed, we caught it sir. We saved the settee sir and were about to take it to our room for safe keeping.”
I think The SWO detected the humour in my voice, for if he thought I was in any way treating him as stupid, my feet, as they say, wouldn’t have touched the ground on my way to the cells.
“On you go,” says the SWO, and on we went. Believe it or not Docker was caught in the same position on the Falkland Islands and gave the exact same reply, however this time he ended up in the clink for two days. We had an agreement that if one of us was entertaining a young lady the other would go and sleep in a bath. Bloody uncomfortable and you wouldn’t half get some strange looks going into a bath room with a blanket and a pillow.
One night young Docker and myself were lying on our pits when we heard a smashing sound. We leapt to the window and could see nothing, but we could hear crashing sounds coming from inside the mess. We decided to investigate. We snuck inside and found a chap destroying whatever he came across. He was obviously drunk and appeared to be intent on destroying everything in the mess. Docker went to call for the police and I kept watch on the fellow.
One military policeman arrived in a Ford Escort estate. He came in to the mess with Docker and came up to me. I indicated where the fellow was, which there was no need for, as the sound of the vandalism would draw anyone’s attention. The copper flashed on his torch and began to approach the maniac. Then the copper had a good idea and told Docker and me that we were to accompany him. This is the point where you wish you had not got involved.
The three of us approached the fellow who was facing us and growling. Luckily the beam of light from the torch, that was fixed on his face, kept him occupied. The copper wasted no time in taking the fellow to the ground and handcuffing him. Docker and I were then invited to guide him from the building. We got him outside and stood waiting by the passenger door of the Ford Escort.
The copper came out asking. “Can either one of you two drive?” I said that I could, so the copper entered the vehicle and lowered the rear seat. He came back out, opened the rear tailgate and indicated that the prisoner, as the fellow was now being referred to, was to be put inside. I was to drive. With the prisoner face down in the rear of the car, Docker in the passenger seat and me driving, the copper sat on the prisoners back and began to give him a slap. Now when I say gave him a slap I don’t mean that the policeman slapped the prisoners arse and called him naughty, he was punching him.
It was quite disgusting and although we were military, and the guy deserved to be punished for what he had done, there was no call for the violence that the policeman was inflicting on the restrained prisoner. Unfortunately worse was to come. When we got to the guardroom and the rear tailgate was opened, the copper came out and dragged the prisoner out. The prisoner was handcuffed and face down so as you can imagine, on leaving the car, he went face first into the concrete. He was dragged, and pushed, and kicked into a cell and the door was slammed shut.
I think both Docker and myself were disgusted with the copper. The orderly officer arrived and Docker and I found ourselves getting dragged deeper into his wicked scheme. Everything that the copper said had happened, he would claim that both Docker and myself had witnessed, which of course had the Orderly Officer believe that the copper was telling the truth. All we could do was nod. We realised that we couldn’t say what actually happened as we were now guilty of omission. I think most of the people involved with that incident knew exactly what had happened, yet accepted it as a sort of immediate and righteous reckoning. It was very unpleasant and I think caused me to be wary of military policemen after that.
The medical officer was called and agreed with the coppers statement that the injuries sustained were probably the result of the prisoner trying to break free from his cell and the minor bruising would be associated with the restraint the three of us had to put him under to calm him down. Never saw the fellow again, thankfully, but we did see the copper, mind you we gave him a wide berth. We wouldn’t dream of breaking the law around him.